The City Wants To Help You Take A Load Off

Sunday, November 06, 2011

An example of a city bench that may come to a neighborhood near you. (NYC DOT)

New York is known as the city that never sleeps — but what about when you need to stop and rest or simply enjoy the view?

The Department of Transportation’s program called CityBench is an effort to remedy the problem by installing 1000 benches across the five boroughs this spring.

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said elderly residents and transit riders are especially in need of more benches. She said, "Places where the availability of public seating can really improve the quality of life for New Yorkers and their experience getting around town."

The priority bench locations include bus stops without shelters, outside hospitals and areas close to senior centers. Other locations will be considered, with the department soliciting location suggestions from the public. The only exception are areas directly opposite a building entrance or outside a cellar door. Sidewalks must have plenty of space to fit a bench: at lease 12 feet wide.

The new models are available with and without backs. The backless version will cost $1,600, while the bench with the back will run $1,800. Both versions come with dividers so lying down isn't an option. They’re made from steel, thought to be the easiest to maintain.
The city is looking for residents to nominate spots where they'd like to take a seat.

"Even New Yorkers need a respite every now and then,” Sadik-Khan said. “So having these points along busy corridors, where people can actually rest and take it all in, is a really important part of what makes the city so great."

Eighty percent of the $3 million endeavor is being funded by the Federal Transit Administration. The state Department of Transportation and the city are both picking up 10 percent apiece. Each bench is expected to have a lifespan of a decade.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that 10 percent of the funding was from the Federal Transit Administration. That is incorrect. Eighty percent of the funding is from the FTA, 10 percent from the state DOT and 10 percent from the city. WNYC regrets the error.


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Comments [4]


While i find it very civic and humane to provide 1000 benches to those who want to sit down occasionally, I'm puzzled that we now have 47 schools on the closing list, a transport system that wants to increase fares, tolls increasing hugely on bridges and tunnels, homeless people being rejected from shelters for not being homeless enough and roads that are practically turning into hazardous cratered landscapes, yet 1000 new benches and numerous large plant pots with expensive non-indigenous greenery continue to be at the top of the priority list. how much does all this cost from idea to fruition ? the aritcle states 3 million, and that is Huge, but thats just the tip of the iceberg. Seriously.
New York will surely look attractive to those who visit and spend their $$s and leave again, but there are a hell of a lot of other things that need funding and tax dollars as well. Can there Please be a happy medium.
Closing schools is not a solution to any problem.

Nov. 06 2011 12:54 PM
lynn from queens from Queens

City benches would be a welcome addition to the area of Jamaica where I work. There is no place to rest or sit outside during a lunch break on a nice day. Alas, can't think of sidewalk that meets the space requirements.

Nov. 06 2011 09:44 AM

Wow! Amazing! In a city that seems to pride itself on being one of the most expensive in the world, where people space often comes at a premium latte price, this is a welcome change,

Nov. 06 2011 08:52 AM
Lucille Gordon from Upper West Side

What a wonderful idea. As an older resident with mobility problems I try to walk every day to keep my independence. Move or lose the ability. Benches could increase the length and range of my therapeutic walks.

There are many seniors in the same fix who would also benefit.

Thank you NYC!.

Nov. 06 2011 07:53 AM

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